If I could have any author as a beta reader? To be honest, I think I’d stick with the people who are already beta reading for me. They’re not big-name, bestselling authors, yet, but then, neither am I.
I might add one or two of my regular blog readers. Some of their work is amazing.
The thing is… beta reading is largely based on being comfortable enough with the other person to make comments about their work, and to listen to theirs without necessarily believing their opinion is a declaration of Truth from On High. Names did pop into my head, when I read this month’s question. But I can see myself fangirling out over those writers.
Fangirl: Oh. You think my happy space opera needs to end in a sapient velociraptor attack? No survivors?
That is the BEST IDEA EVER!
Nope. That’s more of a What are you on, and why aren’t you sharing? moment.
As nice as it is to think that someone mega-famous (or, you know, geek-famous) could swoop down and fix all my manuscript’s problems, the truth is, they can’t. I’d be prone to taking suggestions from my heros as commands.
I’m better off building the beta-reading relationship from where I’m standing. You know. With someone I can look in the eye, and tell them they’re wrong. With someone whose opinion is just… different. Not necessarily right. With someone who doesn’t automatically assume I’m right, either.
What I would benefit from is being able to sit in on critique group sessions between people who are further along in their careers and observe the dynamic between them. Just a peek. Enough to learn what kind of questions to ask, and how to get people to follow up on their responses.